The University of Lincoln Students’ Union held its housing fayre yesterday – just a day after the NUS had issued advice “not to rush into renting too early”.
In previous years, the SU housing fayre had been held in January, but for this academic year, it had been moved back to 2 December.
This was in contrast to advice released by the National Union of Students (NUS) on 1 December, which claimed: “There has been increasing pressure placed on students by exploitative letting agents and landlords who suggest that they will run out of time to rent a flat and will end up without a place to live if they leave it until after Christmas, despite the fact that many of them will not actually be moving into properties until the following September.”
Scott McGinn, the SU’s Communications Officer, told The Linc: “The decision to run the Housing Fayre in December rather than January was not one taken lightly, but was a joint decision made after careful consideration in partnership with the University [of Lincoln]Accommodation Office.
“We used information from last year’s Housing Survey that told us students are choosing to rent in November, December and January. If students are looking and signing at this time, we have a duty of care to support them in the process.”
The NUS also noted the ‘irony’ of the fact that “the towns and cities where students feel most rushed by landlords and agents, are often those where there is actually a surplus of housing leading to increased desperation on the part of landlords or agents.
“In these kinds of markets, students would do much better to hold out until later in the year, when they would be likely to get a much better deal.”
Lincoln SU have been campaigning on the issue, recommending that students wait before renting, Scott explained. “The message of our campaign this year is Wait To Rent. We would love students to wait; ideally we wouldn’t run our fayre until later in the year, but students have shown us that they will do it with or without our help – and we would prefer them to do it with, so that we can ensure they are supported and informed.
“Regardless of the fayre, we are still encouraging students to wait, but whether they do or not we are pleased to know that we have made moves to ensure they make informed decisions, regardless of when they choose to secure their next property.”
The SU have received “a lot of positive feedback from staff and students alike”, Scott added. “The University Advice Team have told us that they have received more students asking to check their contracts and ask general questions about renting than ever before. The housing fayre had over 1,400 visitors – a lot more than have attended in previous years.
“NUS are speaking nationally but we are working for our students, here, doing what is best for those in Lincoln. Each university city and the students within it are unique, so we are confident that we have done the best for our students, and will continue to support them as they move towards their next property.
“The information we have provided the students with over the past few weeks is available on our website at all year round. This way, no one is left without access to important information whether they’re renting in November or September.”Tweet